June 2, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal


While I do not wish to delay the committee, or to indulge in a rehash of old cases, I must say that in some instances, with all due regard to the Pension Board, I fear they adhere too closely to the letter of the Act instead of carrying out the law according to its spirit. I have two cases in mind which I brought to the attention of the special committee on Pensions without success. The first case was that of the Widow Martel whose son enlisted at the beginning of the war, was wounded overseas and decorated for his services, and came back with a 25 per cent disability. Unfortunately he was drowned after his return, because evidently he had not the vigour, owing to his disability, to resist the current or the tide at the place where he was bathing during the heat of the summer. Now his mother is left penniless. And one of her other children was badly injured last winter. The second case is that of Mrs. Etienne, of my own county, whose son also enlisted and was killed during the war, hut because she was not assigned the pay of her son at the time he left for France, she is held to he not entitled to anything, and she has to take care of the two or three children who are left. It is proven that she received a telegram and a letter at the time her son was leaving for the front to meet him at the railway station on the arrival of his train as he wanted to assign to her his pay. He happened to be separated from his wife. But we know how troop trains were run during the war, and how uncertain were their arrival and departure. She went to the station, but it was a special train and did not stop, and she saw her son just bidding her farewell from the car window as the train passed along. He died at the front. She has the care of the young children, and she
receives nothing. That is a case where, it seems to me, the spirit of the act should be followed rather than the letter. I must protest against the decision which has been rendered in this case, because I feel that it is not consonant with the principle upon which the country has provided liberally for returned soldiers and their dependents.

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